President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy met with Prime Minister of Albania Edi Rama and Prime Minister of Montenegro Dritan Abazović, who are on a visit to our country. Also during the event, Prime Minister of North Macedonia Dimitar Kovačevski expressed his support for Ukraine in a video address.
The President of Ukraine is convinced that the development of such a format of cooperation will strengthen our states, the region and Europe in general.
"This meeting of ours testifies to the support of the esteemed Prime Ministers and, consequently, the people of these states for Ukraine, our territorial integrity, sovereignty, our course for full membership in the European Union," Volodymyr Zelenskyy said during a conversation with media representatives following the negotiations in Kyiv.
The President of Ukraine thanked the Prime Ministers of Albania, Montenegro and North Macedonia for the joint statement approved today following the talks in support of granting our country the status of a candidate for EU membership.
Volodymyr Zelenskyy noted that the meeting took place on the eve of historically important international events, the decisions of which, in particular on granting EU candidate status to Ukraine, determine the fate of the European project and Europe as a whole.
The Ukrainian President stressed that the strategic response to Russia's anti-European policy should be the strengthening of unification processes in Europe, greater coordination of European states, overcoming differences between the so-called old and new EU members, and eliminating any "gray" zones in Europe.
"Our states - Ukraine, the Republic of Albania, Montenegro and the Republic of North Macedonia - must become full members of the EU. And we agree that our countries are not competitors on this European path, they complement and strengthen each other's capabilities," he said.
The parties also supported the need to bring to justice all Russian war criminals for what they had done against Ukraine and Europe. Prior to the meeting, the Prime Ministers of Albania and Montenegro visited the areas of the Kyiv region liberated from the Russian occupiers and saw for themselves the consequences of the actions of the Russian military in these territories.
"We agree that an effective tactical response to Russian aggression should be even greater assistance to Ukraine, timely assistance - this is very important. In particular, the assistance with weapons. Also - increasing pressure on Russia, increasing sanctions against Russia for this invasion. The seventh package of sanctions should be as tangible for the aggressor state as the previous six packages combined," the President of Ukraine stressed.
Volodymyr Zelenskyiyy said that during the talks a lot of attention was paid to defense cooperation. He thanked for the practical assistance to Ukraine in the military-technical sphere, for the support of those Ukrainians who have found refuge in these countries. The Head of State also expressed hope that in the near future the four countries will be able to work together on a project of post-war reconstruction of Ukraine.
Prime Minister of Albania Edi Rama stressed his support and solidarity with the Ukrainian people. He said that today he visited Irpin and Borodyanka affected by the occupation and offered his country's assistance in rebuilding houses in Irpin.
"I know that the EU, represented by many countries and regions, has joined this process, but we want to do it without unnecessary bureaucracy. Let us be the first, maybe it will speed up the accession of the rest," he added.
Edi Rama also assured of support for Ukraine's aspirations to become a candidate for accession to the European Union.
"We do not want anyone to speculate on the fact that the EU is bypassing us and we are allegedly offended. This is not true. We believe that these are separate issues," he said.
The Prime Minister of Albania also wished Ukraine an end to the war and establishment of peace.
For his part, the Prime Minister of Montenegro stressed that the visit to Kyiv is a sign of support for the Ukrainian people, who are fighting for common values of Europe and for the right to choose their own future.
He said that Montenegro, Albania and North Macedonia unequivocally support the choice of the Ukrainian people and government in favor of democratic principles.
"The same applies to joining the EU. You have the support of Montenegro, Albania and North Macedonia to unite with the European family," said Dritan Abazović. He expressed hope that the position of the heads of the three Balkan countries in support of Ukraine would be heard by other European partners.
The Prime Minister of Montenegro also noted that the three countries are ready to contribute to the post-war reconstruction of Ukraine, in particular, by providing equipment and funding.
"In our person you have a faithful friend. We will do everything we can to support you in all your endeavors. After all, we faced your experience 30 years ago and we know for sure what aggression, war, ruin and war crimes are. In the name of peace, friendship and solidarity of all European countries, I wish you well and happiness in the future," said Dritan Abazović.